Vaccinations can ensure a safe, comfortable journey when travelling. Depending on the destination being visited, vaccinations may be recommended and precautionary, or mandatory. In the event that you are travelling to a country that requires the mandatory administration of specific vaccines before permitting entry, entry to the country will be subject to the display of a valid vaccination certificate.
The vaccinations you require will depend on a variety of factors including:
- The country you’ll be visiting – and sometimes which region of that country
- The time of year/season during which your visit will take place
- Where you’ll be staying – developed area or not, rural or urban
- What you’ll be doing while there – working, sightseeing, camping etc
- The length of your stay
- Your age
- Your state of current health
There are a number of places where you can get detailed advice and information about different travel vaccinations. Your GP or practice nurse should be your primary source of advice. But you can also use the Internet to find more information about which vaccinations are required for a variety of destinations.
The NHS Fit for travel website has information on the vaccinations required for every country in the world. Another NHS site can give you information about the vaccines themselves including which are available on the NHS and which you’ll need to pay for.
MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad) will help you locate your nearest private travel health clinic and can also give you a free travel brief to help you decide what you’ll require. You provide them with details about yourself, the trip you’re taking and what you’ll be doing and all your relevant treatment and medical history and they provide you with a free travel brief.
Free Travel Vaccinations
Citizens of the United Kingdom are eligible to receive free vaccination for some of the highest-risk diseases. This service is offered by the National Health Service, and covers the following vaccinations:
- Diphtheria booster<
- Polio booster
- Tetanus booster
- Hepatitis A<
- Meningitis C<
While high-risk diseases are covered by the NHS vaccination program, you will be required to fund any additional vaccinations, including:
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Meningitis Vaccines other than Meningitis C
- Tick Borne Encephalitis
- Yellow Fever
Travel vaccinations can be administered at a Doctor’s offices, a pharmacy staffed by qualified nurses, or at a specialist travel clinic. Yellow fever vaccine has to be given at a special yellow fever vaccination centre. The NaTHNaC (National Travel Health Network and Centre) can help you locate a yellow fever vaccination centre in your area.
Speak to your Doctor before being vaccinated as certain vaccines must be given within a few hours of each other, while others have to be administered more than a certain number of days or weeks apart. Your Doctor will also be able to consult your vaccination history to determine whether you have already been vaccinated with the required vaccines, or require a full or booster vaccination.
While malaria is a risk in a large number of travel destinations, it cannot be prevented by vaccinations. Should you travel to a high-risk area it is strongly advisable to take anti-malarial medication as recommended by your doctor. While malaria medication is sometimes available over the counter, your doctor will be able to prescribe you with the correct brand and dosage of medication and avoid any complications arising from the use thereof.